It was one part training exercise, one part friendly competition.
Dozens of first responders from the St. Louis area competed in the second annual EMS Warrior Challenge, hosted by their supervisors through SSM Health.
“It’s a skills challenge where we are testing not only physical, but mental abilities, and obstacles and different training aspects,” explained Dr. Justin Rapoff, who oversees the regional SSM Health EMS teams.
Rapoff designed the course for the competition, which was held at Hidden Valley Ski Resort earlier this month. Teams of two from different ambulance districts paired up for the competition. The course included challenges like ladders, and carrying heavy blocks – as well as simulated door breaches, intubation procedures and pediatric emergencies.
He said the goal was to help first responders train, but to get them out of the classroom to have a little fun.
“These guys thrive off competition,” Rapoff said.
Using dummy dolls as “patients,” teams were timed as they moved between obstacles.
Amanda Warmann and Jody Sullivan work for the Warren County Ambulance District. Combined, the EMS duo has more than 14 years of experience in the career. They enjoyed competing in the Warrior Challenge against other local first responders.
“The physical part of it really gets your heart rate up and its more of a better simulation of real-world stuff than if you’re just in a classroom setting going through the scenarios,” Sullivan said.
“It’s good team building workouts, finding out if you’re good with a compatible team,” Warmann added. “It’s a fun way to train.”
Top scoring teams received prizes, and the first place team got a trophy.
This was the second annual EMS Warrior Challenge. Rapoff said he designed it after a similar firefighting competition.